What do we think about gender neutral toys?
From the moment a child is born, the gender path seems carved out. Only when a child attempts to shrug off that straitjacket do parents sit up and take note.
I’ve noticed this happening with mine – a boy and a girl. Every birthday my son would get Lego, puzzles, building sets and nerf guns, while my daughter would get clothes, jewellery, boxes..
Inevitably each would be jealous of the other’s presents…
In a society that is working hard to change the way gender is viewed, doesn’t it make sense to prioritise changing how we treat our children?
I think all children need the chance to play with whichever toy they like the look of without there being any (implicit or explicit) message about its suitability.
I hate the idea of any child being made to feel wrong or strange about what comes naturally to them.
One of the benefits of Toy Box Club, the toy borrowing service I founded, is that all toys (“boys’” toys and “girls’” toys) are available for all our children.
They get to try them all out and if they like they can buy. So many parents tell us their son is inseparable from his pram or their their little girl won’t stop playing with her new train set.
Parents have prejudices; children don’t. Let’s not pass them on.
Gender Neutral Toys
AGES 1-2 YEARS
Open Robin’s sliding door or push the secret button to release her backdoor ramp. Her injured boy Play Friend fits snugly into the wheel chair or stretcher – place him onto the x-ray machine and push down to see if he needs an operation! Yes, his leg is broken so the paramedic Play friend must drive Robin to hospital as soon as possible.
One of the oldest type of toy, people think dolls are a representation of the child themselves, and allow for a child to gain a greater understanding of themselves as well as those around them. Playing with dolls can provide important growth for children, regardless of gender.
Good for fine motor skills, social skills, responsibility, empathy & compassion, imagination and language.
5 sides to explore. Press the light up buttons to hear animal names, sounds and shapes. Press or slide the musical instruments to hear their sounds. Also includes 5 sing along songs and 20 melodies. Encourages language development, basic maths skills and creative play.
AGES 2-3 YEARS
MELISSA AND DOUG – Who needs a doll’s house when you can have a castle?: Fold & Go Castle
This beautifully detailed, built-to-last wooden castle comes with a working drawbridge and a dungeon for adventurous pretend play. Children can make up stories about the king and queen and their knights, work on counting by adding up the rooms (or windows or stairs in the staircase) or name all of the colours on the play figures. Get the child moving by hiding the treasure chest and asking him or her to send the knights on a mission to find the lost treasure. Appropriate for imaginative play, storytelling and fine motor skills.
Build, play and rebuild again. This wooden locomotive has three train cars full of fruit, and it runs through a colourful house on its way from one town to another. It is perfectly sized for little fingers and the wagons can be played with on and off the tracks. It is also compatible with BRIO’s classic wooden railway. This is a durable toy with a classic design that encourages your child’s fine motor skills and logical thinking.
AGES 3-4 YEARS
This beautiful five piece wooden musical set is part of Janod’s fantastic Confetti range of musical wooden toys. These delightful wooden instruments are all painted red and white with coloured spots. The perfect present for budding young musicians! The full set consists of:
Red Wooden Guitar, Tambourine, Trumpet, and Clapper.
This Wooden Play Kitchen from the fabulous, award winning Le Toy Van, is perfect for any boy or girl who aspires to feature on the next “Bake Off”. Featuring a window with cute gingham curtains, a butler style sink, an oven and hob with turning knobs, a wall mounted dresser and a tea towel rail – approved by the Good Toy Guide, this super toy kitchen has everything for your little one to get lost in the world of creative play.
DJECO – Duck Fishing Game
This classic game of Fishing Ducks is always a hit with young children. Six different ducks, each with their own character, wearing a different hat, and number score. There is a pair of fishing rods to complete the game. The idea is that two people compete for the highest score or just have fun trying to catch them. Play it in the bath, a paddling pool or even on dry land.
AGES 4-5 YEARS
GALT – Board Games: Galt Toys Snakes & Ladders & Ludo Game
Two traditional games for 2 to 4 players featuring a double-sided playing board games, beautifully illustrated with fun animal themes. Jungle animals will help or hinder your progress on the Snakes and Ladders board. When playing Ludo, become an explorer in the Arctic, African Plains, Tropical Rainforest or Coral Sea. Snakes & Ladders and Ludo are an easy, fun way to introduce children to counting and basic rule following.
HAPE – The Ringer
Toss a ring onto a coloured spike and rack up the points…and smiles. Rings and poles are colour-coordinated to increase challenge and learning, also encourages dexterity, focus, creativity, and fine motor skills. Made of all natural wood, this classic ring toss game is the perfect activity for picnics or an afternoon in the park.
LANKA KADE – Dash The Dog Puzzle
A chunky, colourful educational jigsaw perfect for learning through play. Little ones can learn to count as they slot puzzle pieces together to create Dash the Dog!